The Magic Cafe, 110 Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RQ
Tucked away on the south side of Oxford, in a triangulate town and gown estate that is commonly referred to as “The Mystical Triangle”, The Magic Cafe is a throwback to the 60′s beards-and-sandals type of vegetarianism and would equal, and better, anything found in that other hippy hypercentre: Glastonbury High Street.
The vegetarian menu in The Magic Cafe changes each day. When I visited it recently there was a Tibetan Chickpea Soup, a large tray of fresh Sushi and a Leak and Potato (and cheese) Bake, as well as a good selection of salad dishes.The vegan Tibetan Chickpea Soup was smooth and slightly spiced, warming and tasty. The two side salads I had, the Chickpea and Cous Cous, and the Green Salad with hand drizzled oils, were both fresh and enjoyable.
Lunch at the Magic Cafe was a pleasant experience – good food, a relaxed atmosphere, nice staff, a mix of alternative locals, students and lecturers alike. I would assume that most of their footfall is from Oxford’s vibrant term-time student population, eager for some good cheap alternative food and a cool, local and alternative venue for live music.
The Magic Cafe sits in a triangle wedge of houses starting from Oxford’s Magdalen Bridge and defined by the Iffley Road and Cowley Road, both of these streets deserve a further look. Cowley Road is particularly interesting with a lot of multicultural restaurants and eating places – including a Rastafarian Cafe with vegan options, a Russian Bar, a new Japanese restaurant, as well as Italian, Polish and Indian, Spanish, Mexican and Chinese restaurants – that’s a lot of choice for this seasonal student market.In the centre of the triangle, as well as The Magic Cafe, there is the joss stick scented, mystic oriented, bookshop next door, and, opposite, the weirdly named “Rusty Bicycle” pub – all pointing to a nucleus of hippy culture formed in a supportive 60′s Oxford environment years ago.
The Magic Cafe is a pleasant local vegetarian cafe and is worth a visit if you are a vegetarian or student and you live in the south of Oxford; or, maybe, if you are visiting Oxford, fancy a nice light lunch and would be up for a slightly long “Park-and-Walk” into Oxford’s city centre via Magdalen Bridge.
[MP. August 2009.]